In 1920 , Vårgårda Armature is founded by Gustav Hedblom alongside two other business companions. The factory manufacturers armature and has after only two years 38 employees and sales totalling 66 500 SEK.
Gustavsberg has manufactured porcelain since 1825. However, the Gustavsberg history originates from the 1600s, when Gustav Gabrielsson Oxenstierna and his wife, Maria de la Gardie, founded a brickyard in Farsta bay. In memory of Oxenstierna, Farsta bay later came to change its name to Gustavsberg. Though it was not until 1825 that Gustavsberg became known for its manufacturing of porcelain.
Over the centuries, Gustavsberg has continued to develop smart, sustainable products of Nordic design for the whole bathroom. It is, after all, what we do best!
The 200-year-old brickworks is closed, and in 1825, the owner is granted by the National Board of Trade an authorisation to “establish and operate a factory for miscellaneous porcelain”. Around the middle of the 1800s, Gustavsberg starts to manufacture its own products in the English style, and to mark the change, the now-familiar anchor stamp is introduced in 1839. For more than 100 years, Gustavsberg primarily concentrates on making household porcelain and decorative items. Under the leadership of proprietor Wilhelm Odelberg, the foundations are laid for the major company that Gustavsberg will become at the end of the century.
The first Gustavsberg bathtub is unveiled on New Year's Eve 1947. It is the fruit of a unique partnership between Gustavsberg and the American automotive industry. The new form-pressed steel bathtubs are easier to handle than the previous heavy and clumsy cast iron tubs. The Gustavsberg bathtub will soon come to dominate the market.
The financial crisis of the 1990s begins to strain KF, owners of Gustavsberg. As a result, a number of companies that KF own are put up for sale, including Gustavsberg AB. A buyer is soon found in the Dutch company N.V. Koninklijke Sphinx. Gustavsberg's sales remain relatively strong under the new owner. The “Sphinx era” does not make a lasting impression, and no major innovations are introduced in the field of sanitary porcelain. The marriage to Sphinx lasts six years, and the organisation is left almost completely intact.
The German bathroom manufacturer Villeroy & Boch becomes the new owner of AB Gustavsberg. The acquisition comprises AB Gustavsberg along with the subsidiaries Gustavsberg VVS AB and Gustavsberg Vårgårda Armatur AB, as well as the marketing organisations in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic states. Villeroy & Boch is one of the best-known brands of sanitary porcelain in Europe and is also famous for its tiles and household porcelain.
With its daring forms in authentic material, Artic becomes Gustavsberg’s most exclusive bathroom range for many years. The pure lines are more than just a treat for the eye. Along with the smooth surfaces, a concealed drain connection on the wc and hidden fixtures in the washbasin, the product is hygienic and easy to clean. The Artic washbasin also features generous flat surfaces.
The unique, future-oriented design of the Coloric mixer and its exclusive colours have not gone unnoticed. But if Coloric makes a big impact on the bathroom, it makes little mark on the environment as it is made of aluminium. This is a light metal that requires less fuel for transport and is 100% recyclable. In addition, Coloric is not chromed – which is another big plus for the environment. Design: Jon Eliason.
The new Logic range makes it possible to use every last centimetre of space in the bathroom. With its neat, versatile shapes – as regards both porcelain and furniture – the range frees up plenty of space, which means that even small bathrooms can look big. The furniture range comprises everything from small cassette cabinets to broad bottom cabinets that are slim to save space. Even though they may be small, Logic units have been design-optimised to fulfil storage requirements and provide plenty of flat surfaces. Design: Rolf Herrström.
Function and design have always gone hand in hand at Gustavsberg. The Nautic range makes additional leaps in the area as both fitters and consumers are invited to participate in the design process. The Nautic range becomes Gustavsberg's most functional bathroom range ever, packed with technological finesses that make life easier for both users and fitters. Design: Myra industriell design led by Peter Nordgren.
The Logic range is updated with mixers for washbasins, showers, baths and kitchens. In addition to saving energy and water, the new mixers can even change colour. The mixer lever is available in four different mood colours – as are the furniture unit doors and the bathtub front panels. The available colours are Perfect White, Sinful Black, Moody Blue and Crazy Orange. The unique exchangeable aspect makes the bathroom more personal. Design: Jon Eliason.
Gustavsberg started manufacturing sanitary porcelain back in 1939 in a new and (for the time) ultra-modern porcelain factory. Even though the company has reinvented itself continuously over the years, developing into something of a role model as regards eco-friendliness, there is little doubt that it is time for Gustavsberg to move to new and more appropriate premises. In 2015 the business moves to new premises in Ekobacken in Gustavsberg. During the same period of time, the head office moves to Tornhuset in the port of Gustavsberg - the same premises where the office previously was located.
Source: "Muggar och ställ" a story about Gustavsberg's sanitary porcelain factory. Author: Bengt Norling